Archive for May, 2010

Back to the blog

May 30, 2010

Sorry that I have not been updating this blog for a while.  No election has ever taken as much out of me as the most recent ones so I am slowly working up some more energy.

Much has happened over the past few weeks:

Conservative/Lib-Dem coalition
There are a wide range of opinions about the above.  Overall, I have been very impressed.  At the General Election, I was clear that my top two priorities were to deal with the deficit and to start controlling immigration.  Both of these are part of the Government’s agenda so I am pleased.  A recent front page article in the Indepdent highlighted just how massive a problem the budget deficit is.  I know that many people can be cynical about politicians but what I have seen are two different parties making compromises and trying to form a stable government.  I believe that this Government will last.

David Laws resignation
This represents a major loss to the Government.  I have always found him to be very talented and perfect for the role that he was given in Government.  His performance in Parliament a few days ago was brilliant.

New Council
The AGM was held last week.  Councillor Jagdish Sharma was confirmed as the Leader of the Council.  I recognised the decision taken by most in the Borough and the Conservative Group supported his nomination.

I have been impressed with the approach taken by the Labour Group, as compared to its approach between 2002 and 2006.  I have found them to be very reasonable in our discussions so far.  When this is the case, I will give them credit.

I am adjusting to new circumstances and have gone back to my job full-time.  Before the elections, I did not think I would end up where I am now but will give this my best shot.  As always, representing Feltham North will come first.

I will start to update my blog more regularly.

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New Leader of the Hounslow Conservative Group

May 12, 2010

The Conservative Group has just issued the following release:

Following on from the decision of Councillor Peter Thompson to resign as Leader of the Conservative Group, Councillor Mark Bowen has been chosen by the Group as its new Leader.

Councillor Mark Bowen said:

“Many people have had a shock at the local election results last week and I am really sorry that Peter Thompson is not able to continue to build on the many improvements that have been seen over the past few years.  It was a privilege to serve him as his Deputy for the past six years.  My priority now is to ensure that Conservatives provide strong opposition on the Council and work to safeguard the improvements that have been made.  However, we will support anything sensible that comes forward from the new administration.  My Deputy will be Councillor Adrian Lee who is the most formidable of debaters in the Chamber.  I think he will do a great job.”

Councillor Peter Thompson said:

“I am, of course, profoundly sad that last week’s result means that we won’t be able to build upon all that we have achieved over the last four years.  We had exciting plans to guide our borough through the challenging times that lie ahead but now that privilege falls onto others.  Having spent over 10 years as either leader of the opposition or leader of the council I have decided to step back from frontline politics and I am delighted that the Conservative Group has chosen Mark to lead us forward.  We have had a wonderful journey over the last four years and I am delighted that we pass over the Council in a vastly superior state than we inherited it!”

ENDS

As always, I do not forget that I am a Councillor because the people of Feltham North have given me that privilege.  My obligations as a ward Councillor always remain amongst my top priorities.  The role of Leader of the Opposition is a crucial one and I will do all that I can to be constructive, objective and clear.

Local election results

May 11, 2010

As I have said on a previous posting, the big surprise in London was that the Labour vote did not collapse despite many predicting that it would.

One of the outcomes of this, and the Local Elections being held the same day as the General, is that Labour did very well in London Local Government.  They now have control of Hounslow, Ealing, Harrow and Brent amongst others.  In Hounslow, Conservatives did not lose a single seat – in 2006 there were 23 Conservative Councillors returned and this figure increased to 25 last week.  However, every single other Independent and Lib Dem lost their seats and were taken by Labour.

I am thrilled that we have added Liz Mammatt and Colin Botterill to our Group.  Liz is simply one of the best people I have ever met.  Genuine, very hardworking and kind.  Colin is keen as mustard and I predict a big impression in both Feltham West and on the Council.

The Council lost some very good and intelligent people such as Peter Hills, Linda Nakamura, Phil Andrews, Paul Fisher, Genevieve Hibbs, Jon Hardy, Shirley Fisher, Caroline Andrews & John Connelly.  All except Genevieve lost their seats at the election (she stood down before and looked really well last Thursday, which was great to see as she has had health problems).  Every single one of these people worked so hard for their residents and on the Council and I will miss them.  Andrew Dakers, John Howliston & Drew Morgan-Watts are no longer Councillors.  The latter two stood down.  Drew is a very nice guy and John made a big impression in Bedfont and clearly had a personal following.  Andrew Dakers, like me, stood in both elections.  I was able to win in one and he was not so fortunate.  Again his conduct was so impressive and he can rest for a period in the knowledge that he made an impressive mark at the Council.

One of the less pleasant features of politics is that you sometimes see people you like losing their seats, not necessarily from the same Group or Party.  The six who lost in Isleworth and Syon were especially gracious in defeat.  They will always have my respect, reinforced by such dignified behaviour in what are difficult circumstances.  Former Councillors, Shivcharn Gill and Sukhbir Dhaliwal (who stood in Feltham North) were always very courteous to me and I wish them the best for the future.  I would like to thank my three Labour opponents in Feltham North for standing on the platform for the formal declaration of the results.  This was my third election in Feltham North and the first time I have experienced the Labour candidates standing on the platform for the declaration.  I wish them all the best.

A number of people have contacted me expressing surprise at the local election results, especially considering the performance regarding Council Tax, improved local parks and massive removal of graffiti.  Naturally, I am really sad that we cannot continue the work that we started, as we never promised we would crack everything in four years.  Peter Thompson was simply a superb Leader of the Council and so well suited to the position.  It was a privilege to have been his Deputy in administration for four years and for two years in opposition before that.

Some have expressed concerns that the days of Council Tax increases will return.  But we should all take comfort in promises made in most wards by Labour at the election.  They will deliver:

  1. Action on crime with 100 uniformed officers on the streets in this area and CCT in crime hotspots.
  2. Extra cash for local schools to improve standards and new school places to give parents a better choice.
  3. A new business partnership with local businesses and housing associations and build 2,500 affordable homes to rent or buy.
  4. A 24/7 team of Grime busters to tackle graffiti, litter and dumped rubbish-and a direct dial telephone number for immediate action.
  5. A fresh war on waste and a council tax cut for all residents.

If they deliver all the above, and do not compromise recent improvements or front line services at the same time, I think that we can all be very pleased.  There are people who say that some of the above are impossible to deliver.  My view is that the promises have been made so Labour deserves the chance to deliver.  I congratulate Labour and wish them well in delivering the above.  When I get some spare time, I will scan the web to see if any other new administration has made such exciting promises?

Get the insults right

May 11, 2010

I had a voicemail waiting for me on my home phone yesterday.  It was from someone stating how satisfied they were that I had lost everything in politics and was no longer a Councillor.  He then laughed for 5-10 seconds and put the phone down.

It is ironic how such negative feedback can cheer one up!

Thank you Feltham North

May 7, 2010

I, along with Allan and Gill, have been returned to represent the wonderful people of Feltham North on the Council for the next four years.  Here is the result.  Generally,  Labour are doing very well.

Thank you Feltham North!

Update: Labour have regained control of the Council.  Conservatives have 25 Councillors and Labour have 35.

Congratulations Alan Keen

May 7, 2010

Knowing how flat out I, and others on my campaign team, have worked not only during this campaign but over a much longer period, this is clearly an impressive result for Labour.  Naturally I feel very disappointed.  There were things that I did not expect such as the following:

  1. For the Labour vote to hold up in Bedfont, Feltham and Hanworth to hold up the way it did;
  2. For the gap between Labour and Conservatives to be as large as it was in Hounslow West & Cranford and, to a lesser extent, Heston

We secured the most votes in Bedfont, Feltham North, Feltham West, Hanworth Park and Hanworth.  However, Labour won by a much greater margin in Heston West, Heston Central, Heston East, Hounslow West and Cranford.

Labour invested heavily in this constituency and I saw over 20 different items of literature from them during the campaign.  They took the threat of the Conservatives seriously.

I respect and accept the decision of residents in this constituency and congratulate Mr Keen.  I do not think I have ever been so tired when giving a speech before but glad I got through it at around 05:30am.  My team could not have done anything more to win this and I will always be grateful to them for their passion and loyalty.

Off to another count at mid-day.  I hope I will continue as a Councillor for Feltham North.

Vote Conservative Today

May 6, 2010

You have all received the leaflets.  Some of you will have met me on the doorstep and others will have seen me on the various stalls.

If elected, I will be the hardest working, and most local, MP that this constituency has ever had.

Vote Conservative!

Boris back in Feltham and Hounslow West

May 5, 2010

It was great to have Boris back this morning and to meet so many people.  As is typical, 90% of the people wanted to say hello to him, even if they were not Conservative supporters.  But the response received was brilliant.

Here we are looking at the Freddie Mercury memorial, which was covered the previous time he visited Feltham:

There were so many people wanting to take pictures.

Back to the campaign!

Very very exciting times

May 4, 2010

Yesterday was a very proud day for me.  Theresa May came to Feltham in the morning and we went round parts of Feltham North.

In the evening, the Party held a rally here in Feltham at the Assembly Hall.  I stood ten feet tall when David Cameron congratulated the team on a energising campaign.  It was a moment I will not forget.

Another high profile Guest comes today.  Exciting times and all to play for.  Back to the campaign!

Unbelievable

May 2, 2010

I took part in a second hustings earlier this evening.  It was organised by the Hounslow Muslim Forum.  There was a large turnout (100 or so) and the following candidates were on the panel:

Me
Mary Macleod – Conservative in Brentford and Isleworth
Ann Keen – Labour in Brentford and Isleworth
Alan Keen – Labour in Feltham and Heston
Munira Wilson – LibDem in Feltham and Heston
Andrew Dakers – LibDem in Brentford and Isleworth
Elizabeth Anstis – Green in Feltham and Heston
John Hunt – Green in Brentford and Isleworth

We drew lots and the candidates spoke in numerical order.  Alan Keen gave a decent and reasonable opening statement.  I said so.  However, some of what I heard from Ann Keen was beyond belief.  Her opening statement included an attack that not only did Hounslow turn blue in 2006 but it turned white also.  A number of us (not only me) were disgusted by these remarks and whatever happens at this election, these are comments that must be exposed.  I wonder what the Prime Minister would think of them, both publicly and privately?

Later on when Mr Keen was answering a question, Mrs Keen felt the need to call me “a prat”.  And people wonder why there is cynicism about politicians!

I thank those who organised the event.